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Determinants of General Practitioners' Wages in England


  • Stephen Morris

    (Health Economics Research Group, Brunel University)

  • Matt Sutton

    (Health Economics Research Unit, University of Aberdeen)

  • Hugh Gravelle

    (National Primary Care Research & Development Centre, Centre for Health Economics, University of York)

  • Bob Elliott

    (Health Economics Research Unit, University of Aberdeen)

  • Arne Hole

    (National Primary Care Research & Development Centre, Centre for Health Economics, University of York)

  • Ada Ma

    (Health Economics Research Unit, University of Aberdeen)

  • Bonnie Sibbald

    (National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester)

  • Diane Skatun

    (Health Economics Research Unit, University of Aberdeen)


We analyse the determinants of annual net income and wages (annual net income/hours) of general practitioners (GPs) using a unique, anonymised, non-disclosive dataset derived from tax returns for 21,657 GPs in England for the financial year 2002/3. The average GP had a gross income of £189,300, incurred expenses of £115,600, and earned an annual net income of £73,700. The mean wage was £35 per hour. Net income and wages depended on gender, experience, list size, partnership size, whether or not the GP worked in a dispensing practice, whether or not they worked in a Primary Medical Service (PMS) practice, and the characteristics of the local population (limiting long term illness rate, proportion from ethnic minorities, population density, Index of Multiple Deprivation 2000). The findings have implications for discrimination by GP gender and country of qualification, economies of scale by practice size, incentives for competition for patients, compensating differentials for local population characteristics, and the attractiveness of PMS versus General Medical Services contracts.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Morris & Matt Sutton & Hugh Gravelle & Bob Elliott & Arne Hole & Ada Ma & Bonnie Sibbald & Diane Skatun, 2008. "Determinants of General Practitioners' Wages in England," Working Papers 036cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:chy:respap:36cherp

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hugh Gravelle & Matt Sutton & Ada Ma, 2008. "Doctor Behaviour Under a Pay for Performance Contract: Further Evidence from the Quality and Outcomes Framework," Working Papers 034cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
    2. Bell, David & Ritchie, Felix, 1998. "Female earnings and gender differentials in Great Britain 1977-1994," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 331-357, September.
    3. Bob Elliott, 2003. "Labour markets in the NHS: an agenda for research," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(10), pages 797-801.
    4. Ben Jann, 2008. "The Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition for linear regression models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(4), pages 453-479, December.
    5. Whynes, David K. & Ennew, Christine T. & Feighan, Teresa, 1999. "Entrepreneurial attitudes of primary health care physicians in the United Kingdom," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 331-347, March.
    6. H Gravelle & A Risa Hole, 2008. "Measuring and testing for gender discrimination in professions: the case of English family doctors," Discussion Papers 08/27, Department of Economics, University of York.
    7. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    8. Ronald L. Oaxaca & Michael R. Ransom, 1999. "Identification in Detailed Wage Decompositions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 154-157, February.
    9. Connolly, Sara & Gregory, Mary, 2002. " The National Minimum Wage and Hours of Work: Implications for Low Paid Women," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(0), pages 607-631, Supplemen.
    10. Cotton, Jeremiah, 1988. "On the Decomposition of Wage Differentials," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 236-243, May.
    11. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1983. "Labor Market Discrimination against Hispanic and Black Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 570-579, November.
    12. David Neumark, 1988. "Employers' Discriminatory Behavior and the Estimation of Wage Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(3), pages 279-295.
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    Cited by:

    1. Allen, Thomas & Whittaker, William & Sutton, Matt, 2017. "Does the proportion of pay linked to performance affect the job satisfaction of general practitioners?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 9-17.
    2. Chunzhou Mu & Shiko Maruyama, 2013. "Salient Gender Difference in the Wage Elasticity of General Practitioners' Labour Supply," Discussion Papers 2013-16, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    3. Gravelle, Hugh & Hole, Arne Risa & Santos, Rita, 2011. "Measuring and testing for gender discrimination in physician pay: English family doctors," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 660-674, July.

    More about this item


    Physician; family. General practitioner. Income. Wages. Contract.;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations

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